Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has been hoping for this moment since the day he arrived in Jupiter Fla. earlier this year and discovered that the zip had returned to his fastball and the bite to his offspeed stuff. It is with his weapons fully restored that the right-hander will take the mound Wednesday night at Fenway Park in Game 1 (6:30 p.m. CT 7:07 first pitch on FOX) for his first career start in the World Series.

Wainwright who was the Cardinals' closer for the 2006 World Series and was recovering from Tommy John surgery when they won again in 2011 would have gotten the chance to make his maiden Series start a year ago had the Cardinals been able to finish what they started in the 2012 National League Championship Series. Still feeling the effects of elbow surgery and pitching with diminished stuff he won Game 4 of that series to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead that would slip away against the eventual-champion Giants.

A year later in a particularly candid moment Wainwright wondered aloud whether it was for the best.

"If I'm being honest after Game 4 of the NLCS I may have had one more start in me. I was pretty well spent" said Wainwright who had missed all of 2011 following elbow surgery. "I gave every single thing I had. I had terrible stuff last year. I was trying to find a way to make it work. There would be days where my stuff would be OK and there would be days where I didn't have any stuff at all. The fastball wasn't fast the changeup wasn't changing the slider wasn't sliding. The only thing I had was my curveball. That saved me last year and especially when I had no stuff to rely on except for that pitch.